My God Blog:

On the Existence of Deity and the Basis for Morality

Introduction

"Vanity of vanities! All is vanity and a striving after the wind!... Hear the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for they are given by one Master to every person."

So spoke King Solomon, the Preacher; a man who amassed more wealth and lived in greater extravagance than perhaps any ancient ruler. I have been fascinated by Solomon's reduction of human existence to its essential meaning ever since I first read Proverbs and Ecclesiastes as a teenager. Solomon seems rather like a jaded 18th century atheist aristocrat - except that, in spite of his jaded appetites, he emerges from a lifetime of sensual excess and indulgence to assert the primacy of the Creator. His account is regarded in the Judaic and Christian canon as the core text of life wisdom. What is it that a man discovers about himself and reality itself when he has plumbed the depths of opulence, sexuality, adventure, power, fame, knowledge and every imaginable endeavor? For Solomon that something was the remainder, the one residual truth that affirms the meaning of an existence that otherwise would have none.

Who, or What, is God?

God means many things to modern people. We tend to define God in our own way in America - without any sense of contradiction. However, for the purposes of this discussion, I would like to divorce the question from Judeo-Christian tradition, or Islamic tradition, or Unitarian-Deistic tradition or Animistic-Buddhist tradition or any other home grown, personal definitions of God and just consider the fundamental question: Who, or What, is God?

Let us restrict the definition of God for this discussion to a sentient being, having existence apart from and preexistant to the cosmos as we perceive it. Let us further ascribe this being responsibility for the creation of the cosmos.

What is excluded from this definition is the concept of a collective consciousness within the cosmos itself, or a being of inconceivable, but finite, power that is responsible for our local creation, but not that of the cosmos in total. What is not excluded, at least absolutely, is the possibility that our God is not alone and peerless and that our cosmos is merely a small experiment within an unimaginably more vast cosmos.

Does Modern Man need God for Morality?

Didn't we outgrow this three hundred years ago? Wasn't that the entire point of the Enlightenment and the scientific revolution? Well, yes, for most intellectuals it was, and both science and culture have proceded down that path with scarcely a hesitation since, despite the slowly attenuating inertial resistance of the religious institutions and the masses of the populace. But along the way we have put the precepts of the humanist revolution to its test - and it has failed rather spectacularly.

The first failure was the Enlightenment itself. It failed to lead mankind to nobler thought and action. The French Revolution, inspired by the ideals of the Enlightenment, became an orgy of violence during the Reign of Terror, which saw the systematic death of as many enlightened intellectuals as of nobles, and was a very modern foreshadowing of things to come. Well, give it time, we said to ourselves; religion has held sway for millennia (and all those nobles and aristocrats had it coming anyway).

Thereafter, the Industrial Revolution gave rise to great wealth and innovation and an advance in learning for many, inspiring the great minds of the 19th century to speculate that by century's end mankind was definitely on a course of irrepressible upward advance. But the glories of Victorian and Imperial continental cultural and scientific advancement were not for the poorest, nor for the third world colonies being exploited to feed that burgeoning economic growth. Nor did that Fin de Siecle smug confidence prevent the inevitable rise of mechanized warfare and the increasingly encompassing conflicts so waged. The Lost Generation in the post-Great War period dulled their shock and disillusionment in morose poetry and drugs. Little did they suspect that it was only the beginning.

The Communist revolution, begun in the mid-19th century as a corrective measure against the (evidently deliberate) oversight of the captains of industry and of government to share the blessings of the Industrial Revolution with those who made it possible day by day, also failed despite the use of direct violent action. When the followers of Lenin took power in Russia a new monster immediately emerged from a movement initially propelled by the naive idealism of Marx, and it looked very much like the totalitarian rule of the Reign of Terror, but on a more pervasive, more systematic basis. That experiment in controlled social engineering also failed - and not because Ronald Reagan spent more money on "Star Wars" than the Soviets could afford to spend on improved missiles. It fell from within, as it was destined to do (I do not mean destined in any divine sense, but rather in a deterministic sense).

Most egregiously, the humanist reasoning process gave birth to the ascendency of fascist totalitarianism fueled by Naturalism and Determinism, progeny of humanist philosophy, to racial eugenics and to genocide. The National Socialist Workers Party (Nazis) in Germany embraced the ideals of humanism as no one before them (while artfully standing under the banner of Christianity when it seemed useful to do so). That statement will seem outrageous to contemporary humanists, but I will explain in due course that there is no inconsistency or unfairness in my allegation. The Thousand Year Reign lasted little more than a decade, but it caused more death and suffering than all the wars of mankind up to that time.

Finally, capitalism has failed. The greatest failure of the enlightened humanist philosophy is the failure of Western democracy and free market economics. All of the failures that I have described are cheered as victories of capitalism and democracy - though they are nothing of the sort, their failure implying nothing about the virtue or validity of the systems of commerce and governance that we espouse. We in the West touted our values (and still do) as the true path of enlightenment, the last shining hope of mankind, the Natural Law of mankind (and here we have the ancient seeds of the Enlightenment, tempered or perhaps poisoned by an infusion of Locke's self-righteous religious authority). We Americans have boasted that God endorses our systems of commerce and government, while we have pursued methods that bear the resemblance of Naturalism.

Since World War II most humanist intellectuals, scientists, political philosophers and economists have been in a profound state of denial. The bankruptcy of our methodology has been evident since the late 19th century, yet we have persevered in pursuing it. We do not have colonies - that is imperialism; but we still exploit the Third World in precisely the same way using the more refined, and arguably more effective, methods of free market economics. We are not fascists, of course, but we are dedicated to fighting threats to our "national security" and may need to suspend civil liberty in order to prosecute the War On [insert your favorite boogeyman]. Contemporary American politics and economics are subjects for other blogs. Suffice to say that, as has been true since its inception, the architects of humanist philosophy are presently recasting their visions of a brighter future, rediscovering their faith, while the cynical, pragmatic leaders of this world operate with the tools of power that these priests of the new religion have provided them. In fact, ironically it is the cynical leaders who are most devout in their belief in humanism, most profoundly understanding.

Why do I mention any of this? What has this to do with whether anyone should believe in God? In my mind it is analogous to the observation of Solomon. It points to the conclusion that our best efforts in framing moral principles in the absence of a God are necessarily doomed to fail. This is not a mere matter of failure to consistently achieve the noble precepts that one or that society espouses. This is an intrinsic destiny to fail, on a fundamental level.

The last three centuries of humanist guided scientific and cultural enlightenment have been as brutal and pointless as any prior period. When the 18th century intellectuals launched the Enlightement, they tore down Christianity as an enemy of the intellect of mankind, the touchstone of the oppressor, but they replaced the old religion with a new religion founded on science and the philosophy of free will. The classically minded champions of humanism did not at once abandon morality, indeed they were great moralists in a day when the nobility was openly immoral. The classical mind saw order in the universe and the need for order in society. That was a reflection of the culture of the time and, as much as the intellectuals of the Enlightenment might hate to know it, a legacy of the power base of all that they most despised. None of them, though, anticipated Darwin.

It is a popular misconception that Charles Darwin conceived of the theory of evolution. Evolutionary development of species was initially conceived during the Rennaissance. In fact, the Chain of Being idea may be older than that. Darwin introduced the idea that the mechanism for the evolution of species was infinitely gradual and randomly guided. It was random both in terms of the adaptations that may appear in a species and in terms of the natural selection process (subject to other species, local habitats, climate, etc.). The randomness of his theory of natural selection offended the classical mind of the atheist as much as it did the christian theologian. However, the study of geology and particularly of paleontology gave moment to Darwin's theories and by the close of the 19th century there was hardly a voice among scientists who would argue against it. The Earth was inconceivably ancient and vast epochs had come and gone with not only painfully slow change, but also the extinction of species - even mass extinction. Philosophers like Nietzsche perceived the implications of Darwin's observations of the natural world and ran with them to their rational conclusions in a philosophical sense. The sociological and political ramifications of these scientific discoveries precipitated the convulsions of the 20th century.

The humanist revolution begun in the 18th century to exterminate religion, replacing it with an androcentric moral system, is judged a failure in my mind because its proferred morality is wholly inconsistent with the natural law that forms the basis for its scientific authority. The humanists want to retain the virtues elevated by Judeo-Christian religion, bereft of the embarassing trappings of ancient superstition. In this pursuit they are rationally careless, in a state of denial or brazenly dishohest.

In short, humanism has proffered a moral system less credible than a morality based on a God, yet its rationally correct form is in stark antipathy with universal human values.

What is a Valid Basis for Morality?

Morality is nothing more than a system of principles governing human relations. Right and wrong are judgments of behavior based on principles of morality. The essential requirement of any moral system is an absolute reference or standard. Moral relativism is an oxymoron. That is not to say that the perceptions of right and wrong are not colored by culture and individual understanding. But let's not confuse objective reality with subjectivity. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and Schroedinger's cat notwithstanding, science does not admit to the view that reality is literally in our heads. That is a specious argument of philosophers (or even of some social scientists - I hate to be the one to reveal this awful truth, but physical scientists do not regard the social sciences as being, well, rigorous). Our limitations in perception or understanding do not alter reality.

This is crucial, yet antithetical to contemporary humanist reasoning. Morality is a natural consequence of reality. It is inherently deterministic. Whether or not God exists, morality exists, and it is not elective.

By this I am asserting that the argument so popularly held today that each one of us can frame our beliefs and values as we see fit is a rational impossibility. It is utterly inconsistent with the very concept of morality and equally inconsistent with the cosmos in which we exist. Absolutism is, like fundamentalism, a dirty word in the current lexicon. Yet morality is by definition absolute.

Again, this is not to suggest that the complexity of circumstances do not require (lamentably) subjective judgment to interpret morality for specific application. But we must not confuse a general principle with a specific case in the same way that we must not confuse subjective understanding with objective reality.

The rational impossibility is that anyone can describe their private values as valid while also acknowledging another's diametric values as being equally valid. That is very fashionable pop culture, but rational and philosophical rubbish. If every individual is the author of morality in an essential sense, then morality is undefined. I have more to say about logical reasoning later, but this is not even logically consistent and while that is not sufficient grounds to dismiss it, it can be seen as a cause for suspicion. Many things can be paradoxical in nature. The reference point of morality is not one of them, by definition.

The central humanist assertion is that humankind defines morality in its own terms, with reference to nothing but itself. This is not rational, nor consistent with reality. It suffers from the same logical trap as the individual definition (in this case the vast immensity of the cosmos arguing for the existence of other sentient life with independent systems of morality) and it beggars the imagination for an idea more arrogant than that a randomly spawned organism could assert within its ephemeral state that any moral precept it may conceive could in any way supercede the basis of the cosmos itself.

Morality arises from the very essence of reality. It is part of the fabric of the cosmos. Unavoidably, the question of the existence of God alters the reference point. If God exists, then God is the reference point, by our definition of God as being the sentient creator of the cosmos (hence the significance of my earlier definition). If God is not sentient, then it or he/she cannot be taken as a moral reference point. We default to the cosmos itself. If God is not the creator of the cosmos, then it/he/she is as much an artifact of the cosmos as we are of God's design and again we must look to the cosmos for moral definition.

Cosmic Morality

I know that most readers are probably struggling to fathom what I could possibly be contending as a natural cosmic basis for morality. But it is not a new argument. As I indicated earlier, this is the set of moral principles that have been perceived and acted on by the leaders of the world for at least the last century.

These principles are derived from the physical and biological sciences:

  1. Existence (even the cosmos) is ephemeral, so life is of finite value (as evidenced by the scale of the cosmos, the origins of life, the laws of thermodynamics and by death)
  2. Survival of the individual is the highest value (as evidenced by all instinctive behaviors)
  3. Survival of the species is ultimately unimportant (as evidenced by extinction)
  4. The strong are more deserving of life and resources (as evidenced by natural selection and the dominance behaviors within species)
  5. The weak should be culled from society (as evidenced by the role of predators and alienation behaviors within species)
  6. All resources belong to whomever can take them (as evidenced by natural selection and competitive behaviors among individuals and species)
  7. The strong should rule (as evidenced by dominance behaviors within and among species)

In the absence of a God, it is absurd for society to tender moral principles differing from those evidenced in nature. Even if all of society were to advance humanist philosophy so far as to govern the will of all people and elevate all human existence to a state of undisturbed bliss, an individual who asserted his primacy over all life, to the destruction of all happiness and welfare (save his own), using the principles of natural law, must be accorded the judgment of being the most moral person living, the one person most devoted to evolutionary correctness and the pursuit of human advancement in evolutionary terms.

In the absence of God, the only rational argument in favor of proferring moral principles inconsistent with these intrinsic natural principles is that is a more effective means by which the strong can subjegate the weak, the cunning baffle and distract the naive.

In short, in the absence of God, the industrial barons of the 19th century, the Naturalist philosophers and even (indeed especially) the Nazis were correct. If there is no God, then it is the rest of us, trying to impose the virtues of mercy and compassion, of welfare for the poor and weak, of forebearance and forgiveness, of love, who are out of touch with reality and ultimately, immoral.

There is one, and only one, potential alternative posture to the claim to natural law or valid morality in an atheistic cosmos, and that is that there is no law nor morality of any form. Either God or the cosmos itself defines morality, but never in any event can humankind claim to do so. Lacking either God or some natural law, the only remaining possibility consistent with reason is that there is no significance to anything, neither life nor death, neither beauty nor ugliness, joy or misery, cruelty or mercy, hatred or love. There would be neither good nor evil. None of these things has real substance in that case; they are, as Nietzsche and others have long held, mere illusions. Faced with this reality the sanest act that could be pursued by a sentient race would be the annihilation of not merely all life, but of the cosmos itself, to prevent the possibility of life ever again arising. However, that may be too sentimental a reaction.

Do not imagine that I am arguing the necessity of God out of repugnance for the alternative. The truth must be pursued, discovered and embraced. If the alternative (whatever alternative) was convincingly true, then I would advance that belief - however horrible it might be.

However, I am not convinced by the evidence of the physical world and the evolutionary dicta of biological imperative that there is not a God, or that God is what we would describe as malevolent. Rather, I am persuaded strongly by the contrast between the natural law and the universal values of humankind. There is no evolutionary advantage to saving the poor and the weak. There is no evolutionary advantage to mercy or forgiveness. Far from it. Consequently, one cannot explain the origins of these values in evolutionary terms. One cannot embrace them, affirm them, and in the same breath describe them as being natural to a cosmos that knows no God. From what source then does this universal system of values derive?

Some will contend that there are no universal values. Although it is difficult to argue convincingly, I assert that they do exist, that in isolation from any imposed ideological system humans have a natural moral system that is essentially the Golden Rule in its barest elements: Do to others as you would have others do to you. Ideological systems, either philosophical or religious in nature, invariably distort natural values. Moreover, the existence of natural universal moral values does not suggest that we are not also subject to the equally natural tendencies that are consistent with the principles described above; however we humans have a sense that judges our behaviors against a counter-evolutionary standard. We have called this sense a conscience and it is not the consequence of religious upbringing. It is intrinsic to our human nature and inconsistent with our evolutionary instincts. That dichotomy is for me arguably the strongest evidence of God, and not just any God.

Pathetically, the christian intelligentsia has sold out. There is hardly a graduate of a seminary (let alone a theologian) who has as much faith as a fish has. The christian intelligentsia has evolved into a college of theological pragmatism. God or Christ, in this circle, is a symbol of all that is best - the unattainable ideal. It is not important that Jesus was actually the incarnation of the Creator or that the miracles actually occurred or that he raised himself from the dead and ascended to Heaven. What is important is the desire for the virtues of love, compassion, mercy, humility, and hope that these stories inspire in millions of believers. If anything can be thought more deplorable than humanistic atheism, it must be cynical pragmatism in theology. Such reasoning is contemptible hypocrisy and deceit.

There are counter-arguments to my thesis and I will offer the most damning. I have contended that the values of mercy, humility, forgiveness, love and compassion are counter-evolutionary and that such morality is inconsistent with an atheistic cosmos. It is possible to imagine an alternative view of this. If one accepts the argument that humankind is, by nature of being sentient and intelligent, too inherently self-destructive as a species, too malevolent, too violent, then one could possibly argue that the evolutionary adaptation of a conscience, a behavior limiting weakness belonging to almost all members of the population, is an adaptation that ensures the survival of the species by suppressing behaviors that unchecked would lead to extinction through unrestrained competition and conflict. An evolutionary adaptation favoring only the handful of individuals not so handicapped, that in fact makes the general population less capable in evolutionary terms, albeit mainly within the species and less in terms of basic survival, is hard to accept but not unthinkable.

This argument is weakened by the necessity of such an adaptation arising solely for the survival of the species because we know that evolution does not favor the species over the individual. It is far more credible that a conscience would be selected out of the population. Such individuals would not compete effectively and would die in any process of natural selection that consistently favored the strong, uninhibited individuals. Again, one might posit a equilibrium state or dynamic tension between the untenable populations of conscience free individuals that were self limiting, and the poorly competing populations of conscience endowed individuals that tended to survive in fits and spurts.

But this is grasping for an explanation for which there is a simpler and more consistent answer (ie, God). One alternative explanation is that the conscience is indeed a failed evolutionary adaptation that is contrary to survival and is being selectively eliminated in a gradual manner. However, adopting this theory does not support the premise of retaining these values in human moral systems. Affirming values of counter-evolutionary weakness consciously implies that one understands that their function is simply to inhibit the behavior of the mass of the population - it is an evolutionary mechanism of totalitarianism; hence one who holds this theory to be correct does not therefore truly embrace these values. It becomes a Catch-22.

The Deistic Alternatives: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

There are many arguments for and against the existence of God. I have a book in which a philosopher uses a deck of cards to prove that there is no God. Logical gimmicks do not impress me. Western logical reasoning is linear. It owes its ordered methods to the principles of a Greek thinker whose observations of nature were so absurd that one wonders why anyone believed him even at the time, let alone for centuries afterward. The Eastern view of reality is far more complex and far closer to reality. Indeed, physics has shown that reality at the subatomic level is more paradoxical than logical. Our higher mathematics that is used to describe our scientific understandings is not goverened by linear logic. Vectors and tensors depend on multiple dimensions. Logic is akin to algebraic mathematics. Complex reasoning is more analogous to vector math. For example, in algebraic terms A + B = C is still true if A and B are reversed. It is always true. In vector terms that expression can only be true in one orientation and there are infinite variations on A + B that do not equal C.

One alternative possibility is that there is no God. In this case the cosmos is self-existant. Against this contention is the difficulty of explaining how the cosmos, which is measurably finite in both space and time, came to exist, in what dimensionality it resides beyond its own borders and into what temporal state it proceeds. To explain the origin problem philosophers have argued that cause and effect are the artificial constructs of our minds, but this is pure rubbish from a scientific standpoint. That kind of nonsense sails smoothly in the social "sciences" but doesn't work in physics. Scientists have nevertheless had to make similarly incredible contortions of reasoning in order to explain the origin and extinction of a finite cosmos. The present argument is that the cosmos arose from the Singularity, which existed out of both time and space prior to the Big Bang, and that the cosmos will eventually collapse back into another Singularity, again existing neither in terms of time nor space. Consequently, neither time nor space is infinite. Both exist only within the confines of the expanding and collapsing cosmos. This is not so much an explanation as a neat way of disposing of the problem.

While this explanation satisfies the requisite questions, it has problems of its own. Most significant of these is the growing appreciation that some of Einstein's theories on space and time are not correct. There has always been a tension between the theories advanced by Einstein regarding General Relativity and the behaviors of quantum mechanics. Some scientists now suspect that space is not continuous, a remarkable postulation in its own right, that it has substance more in keeping with the earlier and rejected theory of the Ether, and that space and time are not linked. I tend to agree with all of these hypotheses and have for over 20 years. In fact, I will go one more and contend that time does not exist at all. We have long treated it as a fundamental quantity but it cannot be measured or sensed in any way. Time, unlike cause and effect, is truly an abstraction of thought, convenient to our purposes. If General Relativity is flawed, if space and time are not inextricably intertwined, then the supposition that the cosmos is self-existant, yet finite, simply doesn't work.

Alternatively, one could conceive that the cosmos is actually infinite and that what we perceive to be the finite cosmos is only one particle of that larger reality, sufficiently remote from all other cosmos-particles as to never be touched by them. One might even imagine that each of these cosmos-particles is not unlike the myriad atoms that make up our physical matter. This neatly solves both the problems of the finite cosmos and of space-time. It is also practically untestable, unless the presence of other cosmos-particles can be sensed in the way that one particle affects another particle across the (apparent) emptiness of space (this being one of the conundrums about General Relativity).

I won't try to argue away the possibility that there is no God and that the cosmos is self-existent. One of two things is unavoidably true: either God or the cosmos is eternal and infinite. There is a primal cause, a Causeless Cause. The atheistic, yet finite, cosmos theory for me is incredible. The atheistic but infinite cosmos is a distinct possibility and arguments for and against it must proceed from other bases, namely what conclusions we can draw regarding the natural morality of the cosmos vis-a-vis our own sensibilities.

If God exists, then God can take many forms. God can be the judgmental yet compassionate figure described by the Bible, a prankster, an experimentalist, or a malevolent autocrat.

The cosmos may be, and many have argued that it is, a profound joke (in very poor taste). The God as Prankster scenario would have the sources of divine revelation being truly divine in origin, but deliberately inconsistent. Every tenet of morality then would be an artifice, perhaps accruing to the cosmic order, but an artifice intended simply for the amusement of the Creator. If this is true then it is next to impossible to make any reasoned judgment about the meaning of morality or existence itself. Being part of a joke casts existence into something worse than mere absurdity. It suggests a whimsical variation on an alternative I will discuss a bit later. Whenever the Creationist crowd has argued that God placed fossils of dinosaurs in the Earth to confound the unbelieving scientific world, I have been at once appalled and bemused that they would advance that argument in their own favor. Such a conclusion is ridiculous when the infinitely more probable conclusion is that the canon of Holy Writ is a prank being played by the Trickster God.

If our cosmos is merely one of many experiments in creation by a curious, contemplative being, then morality itself may be another such experiment and not necessarily a cosmically-consistent experiment. I should acknowledge that it is certainly possible, though highly improbable, that evolutionary principles developed in a somewhat different manner in other regions of the cosmos. How different would be speculation, but the interaction between conflicting, yet organic, moral systems might present an interesting study to a Creator. That juxtaposition hasn't happened to us as far as we know (though ancient religious texts hint at such possibilities). Many people seem to suspect that God is an experimentalist who has lost interest in this particular experiment. I admit that this alternative scenario offers possibilities that appear to be contradictory to my contention that morality is absolute and defined by either God or the cosmos. For clarification, if God reveals his nature then that is the basis for morality; if God is not revealed, then the cosmos itself must be the basis. Of course, an Experimentalist God could introduce placebo morality or bogus morality as part of the experiment. The God as Experimentalist scenario can include both revelation and plausible deniability, or grounds for doubt. This scenario can be combined with any of the others too.

Finally, we have God as Malevolent Autocrat. This has become a very popular topic of conversation in cyberspace of late, with the attention drawn to the political advocates of intelligent design. It typically goes under the name of Malevolent Design. The basic premise is that God is evil. While this may seem ludicrous, it is a definite possiblity. There is nothing inherent in creation that necessitates that God be loving and compassionate. Further, if one assumes that the natural law must be consistent with the divine nature, then the most rational conclusion that one can draw from the cosmic order is that God is what most humans would describe as evil. Whether one believes in this scenario is partly resolved by what one says about the human conscience, although the conscience may itself be another trick played by a malevolent, prankster God, as alluded to previously. If God is malevolent, even if we adopt all of God's virtues of ruthlessness, selfishness, and quest for power, we can expect nothing beneficial in return. In fact, in this scenario, it is likely that we all will endure eternal torment sooner or later (it is worth noting that that is also the mathematical certainty of limited atonement and grace taken over the limit of eternity). However, the argument for a Malevolent God is gravely weakened by the very existence of what we think of as good virtues. How can humankind be more good than God? That is to say, where did we get these contrary notions? It is inconceivable, indeed rationally impossible, that we would be more morally advanced than God - as I hope to have made clear, God defines morality, if he/she/it exists. This situation differs radically from the evolutionary morality case I decribed previously in which we assume that God does not exist, because in this case we can find no basis, neither in nature nor in divine revelation, for what we perceive to be good. From whence then does it come? It is at best a perversity, an aberration of nature.

Personally, I hold to the belief that the God who made the cosmos is the same God that became human for a few years to demonstrate His person to us in a way that shames all our best efforts at forgiveness and love. I think it significant that only one religion in history has advanced the idea that a race of people was set aside by God especially to bless mankind, that through a system of law this race of people would make itself distinct from all others as a sign of God's holiness, that it would prepare itself to receive the Annointed One of God who would willingly suffer at the hands of ruthless men to show us the mercy of God (ie, forgiveness for the most outrageous offense imaginable - deicide), teach us the truth and then prove His authority as a sign for our belief. Only one religion has ever claimed to be about universal reconciliation of wayward humankind to a holy and unchanging God, who calls Himself: I Am that I Am, the self-existent.

C. S. Lewis once observed that humankind had three choices as to how it could view Jesus. Either he was insane, a fraud or he was the Messiah. There isn't a fourth option of regarding him as a good man who was deluded about his being the Son of God or some sort of prophet, a teacher of profound truths that we could adhere to without all the superstitious nonsense. That possibility is rationally excluded.

In like manner I posit that there are three possibilities regarding morality: Either there is a God and that being defines morality (for better or worse), or there is no God and the cosmos defines reality in terms of ruthless evolutionary imperatives, or else morality simply does not exist. We do not have the option of being advocates of love, kindness, mercy, compassion, forgiveness and hope while rejecting the existence of God. That possibility is rationally excluded. Even in the absence of any divine revelation, our affirmation of these counter-evolutionary values should suggest to our minds the existence of a Creator with attributes nobler than that of our bestial heritage.

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